Media, Darling: Mary Kitchen

Mary Kitchen delivers the latest entertainment stories making headlines in Toronto, Hollywood and beyond, as the entertainment anchor on CityNews on Citytv and CityNews Channel.

Mary’s knowledge of all things fashion, music, television, film and the arts keeps viewers on the pulse of Toronto’s vibrant entertainment scene night after night. From red carpets and breaking entertainment news, to exclusive interviews with national and international celebrities, Mary anchors the Entertainment City segment on CityNews at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. on Citytv and CityNews Channel. She is also a regular contributor to Breakfast Television, keeping viewers informed on updates from Canada’s Got Talent, and is the voice of digital reality series Canada’s Best Beauty Talent.

Previously she was a reporter for Fashion Television Channel and travelled around the globe interviewing celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna and Natalie Portman. As host of Red Carpet Diary at the Toronto International Film Festival, she has interviewed A-list celebrities, including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen.

Did you always
want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
No, I never knew this was really a job I
could have. I got into the business in a roundabout way, starting as an actor.
Where would you like to be five years from now?
Working with happy people and telling
good stories.
Any advice for people getting started in your
I think it has to be a part of who you
are, it’s not something you can force. It has to be in your nature. I think you
either have an innate appetite for this stuff or you don’t. And you must be
prepared to sleep very little!
What are your favourite media outlets, not including
your own?, the Globe and Mail, New York
and Interview Magazine.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Not sure of my best interview, but there
are best moments. Woody Allen is fascinating, Emily Blunt and Mark Ruffalo are
two of my favourites because they’re always so generous. I was in awe of Tilda
Swinton. I had the biggest CAN Lit crush on Margaret Atwood. Sometimes you’re
disappointed though, so I’m happy that there are a few of my favourites that
remain a mystery. I’d never want to interview James Gandolfini and feel let
Not sure if it’s the worst, but it was the most
disappointing: Julian Schnabel. I was so looking forward to speaking with him,
as I’m a huge fan of his work. It was on a red carpet. He walked up to me and
asked if I saw the movie and I said no (as there was no press screening) and he
gave me a really hard time about it. The clip played on 98.1 CHFI, and for
years people asked me why he was such a jerk.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Kurt Russell told me that “the
business picks you,” meaning to not worry what I was supposed to do in this
business. I guess he meant that if you fit in, if it’s meant to be, you’ll find
your way. My aunt Heather also told me the hardest thing in life is to be
yourself, so strive for it.
What rule(s) do you live your life by?
See answer above… and, I really think it’s
important to not take yourself too seriously, and to laugh a lot. Try to be as
healthy as you can, and to find the magic in life.
What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
People in media are on such tight
deadlines: we don’t have any time, so do the work. Write the story, or set up
the shoot theoretically and approach journalists with a creative ideas. Give
journalists a package and make it easy. In the end, we both want to get great
stories out there.
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to
hear about #wins.
George Clooney’s publicist – he was just
such a nice guy. He’s calm and knows his stuff. He treats people with respect
and gets the job done, and does it all in a very elegant manner. Same with all
of the great studio publicists, the best are always great to talk with.
I hate?
I don’t like uptight people, or people
who take themselves too seriously. I don’t like nastiness or bad-spirited
I love?
Movies (drive-in movies, in particular),
surfing, animals, Jay-Z, art, laughter and telling good stories. Organized
publicists are great at helping with that.
Reading for work right now, just
finished The Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey (like
everyone else). 
Best place on earth?
Family cottage, and anywhere I can go
Dinner guest?
I would love to have Judy Garland or
Lady Di for dinner (I think Diana would have been a great interview).
My mom and sister.
Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these
Just downloaded the new Santigold album
and Girls. Also addicted to Game of Thrones, New Girl and American Horror Story. No favourite app.
Pool or ocean?
Voicemail or email?


TIFF’10: Media, Darling: Sholeh Alemi

Sholeh Alemi is a Senior Producer at Entertainment Tonight Canada, and the show’s Project Manager for the Toronto International Film Festival. She has managed ET Canada’s film unit for three years. Prior to her current show, she worked for a variety of programs and genres including Fashion Television, Doctor in the House, and the documentary series Women Behind The Badge.

When she isn’t producing stories from red carpets and movie sets, or interviewing Hollywood’s famous faces, she keeps busy with ballet, container gardening and learning Italian. This year she will be nine months pregnant at TIFF – and producing her biggest story yet!

How can someone grab your attention with a pitch?
By keeping it simple, clear and relevant to the show I am working on.

What do you find most useful when dealing with public relations professionals?
Publicists who “get it” and understand the needs of a TV crew so we all end up with a final product we can be happy about. Some of those needs include having enough time to set up to make it look good, having a location that is visually interesting, interviewing a person that is media savvy or media-trained, and having supplemental footage readily available in a timely manner to add more interest.

What is the biggest mistake PR professionals make?
Not doing their research before coming to me with a story idea. We are all very busy people and it is important to know the show you are pitching to. For example – I work for ET Canada so if someone is going to pitch me an idea for the show there has to be a celebrity angle to it. If it doesn’t, it won’t be something that will air on my show. Pitching to me so that you can check it off your list is a waste of time for both of us and I’m less likely to pay attention next time.

Your pet peeve (pertaining to PR)?
Publicists who have never watched the show I am working on. I have worked on shows in the past that are harder to watch because they have been on specific channels, but my current show is on every night. PR people should be watching it fairly regularly if they want to come to me with story ideas. Watching once last year doesn’t cut it since things change.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
I work very closely with publicists and I couldn’t do my job without them. The best publicists, in my opinion, seem to have a thorough knowledge of media, are on top of their own client list, understand my needs and get back to me quickly.